‘It is not down on any map; true places never are.’ – Herman Melville
The Holgaroid series was never really supposed to be a series. It was an experiment in simplification made just after I finished a fairly intensive two year project called ‘Click here to Delete’ which simply put, was about returning to my home after twelve years living away. Holgaroids was like trying doors and finding out they were all the wrong one.
It was a purely aesthetic consideration to begin with. I wanted some choices removed from the equation. Simplified and serendipitous. The lack of a process directly informing the photographs and my decisions of what to point the cheap plastic camera at. The instant gratification of Polaroid rewarding me like a lab rat pushing a lever for nuts. The low quality image lends itself to abstraction. Abstraction of landscape is nothing new but at the time it was for me. The failures were more important than the photographs that ‘worked’. It was exciting. No answers presented themselves. It was about asking the questions.
I realise they were only 2D copies of things I’d seen, but upon looking at them and bringing all my thoughts of each walk to bear upon them, they became a way to ensure those potentially forgotten meanderings never became so. The lost art of walking to nowhere. It was also a joy to revel in the unpredictability and let go of all the trappings of technology. There was nothing to distract from the moment in front of me. You can’t even really see through the viewfinder. It was press the shutter and hope. To be fair whichever camera I use this still applies.
Trying to capture beauty is a fine thing to do for those who want that particular fleeting fulfilment. But by searching for beauty I feel you can only slip further and further away from it. I think these photographs are about something else. Not photographing the landscape, but trying to capture a reflection of whatever was bouncing back. Looking through rather than at.
I was searching for something. It’s only when I stopped looking that I found it.
Unless otherwise stated, all images and words in this article are © Al Brydon